AgriPOWER Class XVI Boyert's Greenhouse

AgriPOWER Class XIV spent a few days in March in Medina and Wayne counties learning more about northern Ohio agriculture from leaders in Ohio Farm Bureau.

We spent our first morning learning and talking about labor laws and CAUV from Leah Curtis, Ohio Farm Bureau policy counsel and the host of Legal with Leah. Although, most agricultural labor exempt from federal and Ohio labor laws, there are still several laws that must be adhered to including minimum age of employees using hazardous materials and equipment and laws about times and days that employees that are in middle and high school can work on a farm. Leah gave great examples of employment that is not considered agriculture exempt, including running an excavating business from your farm entity. 

Matt Vodraska
Matt Vodraska, owner & operator of Bent Ladder, pours flights for AgriPOWER Class XIV.

We learned more about how CAUV (Current Agricultural Use Value) is evaluated and determined. We became more proficient in how all property taxes are calculated with federal, state, county and local governments which ties into CAUV calculations. A quote that Leah shared with us was: “CAUV values land for its income producing potential from agricultural use ONLY.” CAUV helps farmers save a portion of their property taxes by using their land for agricultural purposes.

Prior to lunch on Day 1, Melinda Witten, director of AgriPOWER for Ohio Farm Bureau, spoke about her family operation, Witten Farm Market, and her family’s great experiences with the H-2A program. H-2A is the work visa program for seasonal agriculture workers in the United States. Melinda spoke about how the workers have become part of their family and they appreciate the work they do for their farms. It was impressive to hear firsthand how the H-2A program works and how it has benefited Witten Farm Market.

After a quick lunch, we were introduced to Mitchell Hora of Continuum Ag via Zoom. Mitchell explained how carbon credits work for grains, specifically corn. Carbon credits will be very beneficial in helping to increase the price for farmers as they sell their corn to ethanol plants.

We packed up and hopped in our vehicles to head to Rittman Orchards, where Matt Vodraska, owner and Ohio Farm Bureau District 8 trustee, gave us a hiking tour of the orchard and vineyard. Matt explained that the up and down winter temperatures the last few years have been very hard on the orchard. They currently grow apples, peaches, grapes and several berries. As we finished our tour, we were each treated to a flight of hard ciders, created by Matt for the Bent Ladder which is part of the orchard experience. My favorite hard cider was Home Slice, which tastes like an apple pie!

Matt Boyert
Matt Boyert shows how geraniums are grown and propagated.

We ventured to downtown Medina to visit Kayleigh Keller of Keller Meats & Café Bistro. Kayleigh has a passion for farm-to-fork and was inspired to grow her family’s business in the former Farmers Exchange feed mill in downtown Medina. Kayliegh shared the trials and tribulations of growing the business and how she found her way in a male-dominated business. We were able to finish the evening at Medina Brewing Company in the bottom of the old feed mill. 

Day 2 started with a beautiful drive to Keller Meats in Litchfield, where we met up with Kayliegh and learned the ins and outs of their meat processing facility. If you get a chance to check out Keller Meats, try their Magic Dust Seasoning for your summer grilling.

We traveled to Boyert’s Greenhouse & Farm where we were met by Mike and Patti Boyert. Mike is a regional trustee for Ohio Farm Bureau and is so passionate about leaving a legacy to the future generations. What a beautiful greenhouse! So much time and effort is used to prepare all the lovely products for spring, summer, fall and winter! Matt Boyert gave us a tour of the greenhouses and talked about the history of the farm and greenhouse. We talked more about his parents wanting to ensure a legacy for not only their family, but all farm families. Check out the Growing Tomorrow Grant founded by Mike & Patti Boyert.

About AgriPOWER

AgriPOWER is Ohio Farm Bureau’s elite leadership program designed specifically for farmers and agribusiness professionals. This yearlong program focuses on public policy issues confronting agriculture and the food industry. It helps individuals develop the skills necessary to become effective leaders and advocates for agriculture.

Labor has always been an issue, mainly because we are a seasonal operation. So that's a challenge finding somebody who only wants to work three months out of a year, sometimes up to six months.
Mandy Way's avatar
Mandy Way

Way Farms

Farm Labor Resources
I appreciate the benefit of having a strong voice in my corner. The extras that are included in membership are wonderful, but I'm a member because of the positive impact to my local and state agricultural communities.
Ernie Welch's avatar
Ernie Welch

Van Wert County Farm Bureau

Strong communities
I see the value and need to be engaged in the community I live in, to be a part of the decision-making process and to volunteer with organizations that help make our community better.
Matt Aultman's avatar
Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

Leadership development
Farm Bureau involvement has taught me how to grow my professional and leadership experience outside of the workforce and how to do that in a community-centric way.
Jaclyn De Candio's avatar
Jaclyn De Candio

Clark County Farm Bureau

Young Ag Professionals program
With not growing up on a farm, I’d say I was a late bloomer to agriculture. I feel so fortunate that I found the agriculture industry. There are so many opportunities for growth.
Jenna Gregorich's avatar
Jenna Gregorich

Coshocton County Farm Bureau

Growing our Generation
Knowing that horticulture is under the agriculture umbrella and having Farm Bureau supporting horticulture like it does the rest of ag is very important.
Jared Hughes's avatar
Jared Hughes

Groovy Plants Ranch

Groovy Plants Ranch
If it wasn't for Farm Bureau, I personally, along with many others, would not have had the opportunity to meet with our representatives face to face in Washington.
Austin Heil's avatar
Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
So many of the issues that OFBF and its members are advocating for are important to all Ohioans. I look at OFBF as an agricultural watchdog advocating for farmers and rural communities across Ohio.
Mary Smallsreed's avatar
Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

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